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Planning a visit to the Cheyenne Mountain Zoo in Colorado Springs? We’ve put together all of the need-to-know information to help you make the most out of this amazing attraction!

It’s no wonder why the Cheyenne Mountain Zoo was voted the #4 Best Zoo in North America by USA Today! If you’re looking for fun things to do in Colorado Springs, a visit to this incredible zoo should be near the top of your list. From how to book your tickets to what exhibits offer the best interaction with the animals, we’ve got you covered with our guide to exploring this incredible zoo in Colorado Springs.

Make sure that when planning your itinerary you allot time for Colorado Springs’ most delicious attraction, Rocky Mountain Food Tours (that’s us!). We offer food, brewery, and cocktail tours weekly throughout the year. This is the perfect activity to do after a morning at the zoo!



Cheyenne Mountain Zoo Giraffe
Cheyenne Mountain Zoo Giraffe | Photo Credit: Rocky Mountain Food Tours

1. Want to know when to visit? It’s open all 365 days of the year!

You can peek in on the 30+ species of endangered animals literally any day of the year. While Colorado enjoys a temperate climate making any month potentially a great month to be outdoors, there are a few months we prefer. May and June are a great time to visit just before the summer heat settles in. September, October, and even November can also be fantastic weather-wise. But really whenever you decide to come, you can always enjoy a visit. Not-to-miss events during the year include Boo at the Zoo in October and Electric Safari in December.

Note: Many animals slumber through the heat of the day, so try going in the morning to catch them when they are awake and most active! 



Cheyenne Mountain Zoo Elephants | Photo Credit: Cheyenne Mountain Zoo
Cheyenne Mountain Zoo Elephants | Photo Credit: Cheyenne Mountain Zoo

2. Buying your tickets couldn’t be easier, but you do need to buy them in advance.

The thing about popular attractions is that they can get quite busy! To help the flow of traffic both in the parking lot and with zoo-goers inside, the zoo has instituted timed tickets which must be purchased in advance. When buying your tickets, especially in the extra busy summer months, it’s best to plan ahead. You can find more information on current pricing and how to reserve your tickets here.



Goat the Cheyenne Mountain Zoo | Rocky Mountain Food Tours
Goat the Cheyenne Mountain Zoo | Photo Credit: Rocky Mountain Food Tours

3. Need to know how long it takes to go through the zoo? Budget anywhere from an hour-and-a half to three-and-a-half hours to take in all of the sights.

First off, it should be noted that the Cheyenne Mountain Zoo is built into, well, a mountain! It sits at nearly 7,000 ft. above sea level, which can prove physically challenging for those unacclimated with higher elevation. While some can zip through the zoo on foot and find the steep hills un-daunting, others may choose to take their time, stopping along the way to rest or for lunch, or even hitching a ride on the shuttle (small fee applies).

If you’re fast-moving and want to simply browse through the exhibits quickly, a good 1.5 hours will suffice. Most people, however find that 3.5 hours is about right, especially if you plan on experiencing any of the interactive exhibits.



Cheyenne Mountain Zoo Penguins | Photo Credit: Rocky Mountain Food Tours
Cheyenne Mountain Zoo Penguins | Photo Credit: Rocky Mountain Food Tours

4. Is a membership worth it? Yes, if you plan on going at least twice!

If you’re local and could see yourself going to the zoo more than twice within the year, you may want to consider becoming a member. Want to check out the zoo first before making the financial commitment? The zoo allows you to apply your ticket payment to the cost of a membership within 14 days as long as you have your receipt. They have a variety of plans to choose from some of which allow you the opportunity to bring guests. Just remember, you must reserve your timed ticket just like everyone else!

Note: Not only does a membership allow you free access, but it also gets you loads of other perks including admission to exclusive summer events, early morning admission, and discounts to the gift shop. 



Girl Feeding Giraffe at the Cheyenne Mountain Zoo | Photo Credit: Rocky Mountain Food Tours
Girl Feeding Giraffe at the Cheyenne Mountain Zoo | Photo Credit: Rocky Mountain Food Tours

5. While there are a lot of amazing animals at the zoo, these few exhibits are MUST SEES during your visit.

The Penguins – We never dreamed of walking and playing with penguins, but the Cheyenne Mountain Zoo makes this memorable experience possible at the exhibit “Water’s Edge: Africa.” These incredible animals have their own slip-n-slide outdoor adventure park and beach which you become a part of upon walking into the exhibit. Plus, go further in to see the hippos splish and splash in their own lazy river.

The Giraffes – The zoo is known for having the largest reticulated giraffe herd in North America. Buy a bunch of lettuce then walk along the high sidewalk to feed them face-to-face. Just watch out, their black tongues have been known to give a lick or two when food is in sight!

The Rhinos – As part of the new “Encounter Africa” exhibit, you can sign up to feed the rhinos (yes, you heard that right!). Step right up to the fence, and these gentle giants will happily to take a carrot right out of your hand. This experience is only offered between March and October, and proceeds benefit wild rhino conservation.

The OrangutansBook an unforgettable experience with these artistic animals and come away with a beautiful souvenir! You pick the colors, they paint the masterpiece. Take up to four guests with you for this exciting behind-the-scenes visit. Must book seven days in advance.



Cheyenne Mountain Zoo Sky Ride
Cheyenne Mountain Zoo Sky Ride | Photo Credit: Cheyenne Mountain Zoo

6. Take a ride on the Mountaineer Sky Ride, but only if you’re not afraid of heights!

Let this open-air chairlift sweep you up into the Colorado sky for a bird’s eye view of the animals below. Hover over exhibits to see these endangered species from a whole new perspective. The seven-minute ascent will take you to a lower mountain summit where you can stretch your legs and gaze out to Colorado Springs and the vast plains to the east.

Note: The cost to ride this attraction is extra, and you must purchase your tickets before entering the zoo at the admission stand. 



Colorado Springs Pizza | Photo Credit: Rocky Mountain Food Tours
Colorado Springs Pizza | Photo Credit: Rocky Mountain Food Tours

7. Take a break and grab some food and drink at these tasty restaurants right inside the zoo.

Pizza, sandwiches, and mouthwatering barbecue are all available at different dining facilities throughout the zoo. On cold days, grab a coffee and pastry from the Cozy Goat Espresso Bar, or if it’s hot, indulge in an ice cream or lemonade from the Carousel Sweets trolley. You may want to opt for packing your own lunch as coolers are permitted, and there are plenty of picnic areas with fantastic views!



Carousel at the Cheyenne Mountain Zoo | Photo Credit: Rocky Mountain Food Tours
Carousel at the Cheyenne Mountain Zoo | Photo Credit: Rocky Mountain Food Tours

8. If you’re bringing children, treat them to a ride on the carousel.

A true relic, the historic carousel has been bringing children joy and laugher at the zoo since 1937, when Spencer Penrose purchased it. It was actually fabricated in 1926, making it older (or much older!) than most people who ride it. Tickets can be purchased right at the attraction.



Cheyenne Mountain Zoo Walking Penguin | Photo Credit: Rocky Mountain Food Tours
Cheyenne Mountain Zoo Walking Penguin | Photo Credit: Rocky Mountain Food Tours

9. Is someone you love celebrating a birthday? Send them a custom, virtual shout-out from one of the animals.

We love unique gift ideas, and this one tops the list for animal lovers. Choose your animal, and then a keeper at the zoo will create a five-minute personalized video honoring your loved one as well as featuring some up-close-and-personal footage of the animal. Choose from a whole host of animals from amphibians, beavers, owls, armadillos, and more!



Food and Brewery Tours with Rocky Mountain Food Tours | Photo Credit: Rocky Mountain Food Tours
Food and Brewery Tours with Rocky Mountain Food Tours | Photo Credit: Rocky Mountain Food Tours

10. Not sure what to do after the zoo? Take a food or brewery tour in downtown Colorado Springs!

After you work up an appetite walking through the zoo, head to downtown Colorado Springs for the most delicious local attraction. Take The Original Colorado Springs Food Tour, which started in 2010, for a classic food tour experience featuring five restaurant locations. Tours start at 1:45pm and 2:00pm, so make sure to plan your zoo visit before that time! Also, we highly recommend you check out our Colorado craft brewery tour and signature cocktail tour. Fun for the whole family!


We are so lucky that the one and only Cheyenne Mountain Zoo is in our own backyard. We hope you enjoy your visit to this incredible attraction and that you carve out some time to see us too on a food tour!

Cheers, Your Rocky Mountain Food Tours Team

(So, what’s a food tour, anyway…?)



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